It is this need for insider access that has evolved the movie making business into what it is today. The industry has accelerated in pace to the point where there's more releases in quicker timeframes, and this combined with that need for more information becomes the need for more product. Quicker timeframes mean less time to promote a film, which means more bombs/under appreciated gems, which means more crap films/bigger DTV outlets, etc. All of these factors have made teaser materials into a necessity instead of a luxury. People have become more informed and involved in the film promotion process that it's gotten to the point where it's difficult not to start promoting something from it's earliest stages of conception. People have come to expect concept art and a quick little tease as to what exactly it is you're selling. We're at a point where people get excited when a film gets greenlit, which makes it nigh impossible to hide a major production from anyone's eyes for too long.
And yet, somehow, James Cameron did it. He kept the film under tight wraps, he made sparse comments about the nature of the film, and in doing so he's taken old marketing techniques & puts a new social networking spin on them. The information for this film has been controlled & deliberately released from day one, just like the old days. There's only been one teaser poster and one teaser trailer to date...and the film is set to open in December. This has caused everything from rampant speculation to open criticism and ridicule.
Make no mistake, James Cameron is a genius. He knows how to tell a story, he knows how to sell a story, and he knows how to play the game the moviegoer expects. He's not like George Lucas, where every property of his is a territorial pissing match. He's not like Michael Bay, where the economy of story gets raptured by the beauty of CGI. He's not even like Steven Spielberg, who works at a moderately paced clip, despite the fact that he's attached to so many projects it's almost impossible for him to choose what's next. This is James Cameron we're talking about here, and this is his long awaited return to the genre that he helped innovate and revitalize back in the 80's and 90's. When you look at his resume, and you look at the results, go ahead and try to tell someone that there's a good chance "this might not work".
The marketing machine is just revving up, folks. Avatar Day could build solid interminable buzz through word of mouth, once there's proof that the product is worth the posturing. And with new technologies that word of mouth will spread if it's there. James Cameron and Fox have put all of their eggs in this basket of 4000. The hard part though, is going to be following this up with a campaign that saturates the market with all the right things. Because while James Cameron is an impressive filmmaker to date, so was George Lucas before Episode I. That's where we'll pick up on Monday. Have a good weekend, everyone.